Simplifying starts with tentative baby steps. Your first step is always the hardest. However, after you get started you’ll be off and running in no time.
For example, at the beginning of 2008 Logan and I sat down and decided we were going to live a minimal, debt free life. Writing down our goals was one way we paid off our debt quickly. We also implemented a number of money saving strategies into our routine.
Below are 51, simple, micro-actions you can use to spend less and save more. Some of the tips are really easy to implement, while others might take more effort.
1. Live within your means. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford. This probably sounds like cliché advice, but how many people do you know that charge stuff on their credit cards all the time? Know the true expense of items by converting the price of stuff into your labor cost to earn it.
2. Stop trying to impress and please other people.
4. Take care of your stuff.
5. Cut your own hair or have your partner do it. Do you really need to spend $50 on a hair cut, or can you do it yourself?
6. Plan in advance. Planning drastically reduces the dreaded impulse buyer regret. For instance, make lists before you go grocery shopping and research the best deals for things like clothing and food.
7. Research value, quality durability, and the price of products.
8. Sell your car.
10. Barter and share your stuff.
11. Decrease your housing costs. If you’re paying an excessive amount to “own” or rent, take some time to evaluate the value of your location and the space you use.
12. Learn about minimalist home cooking.
13. Embrace the idea of a staycation.
14. Say no to Cable TV.
15. Sell your smartphone and use Skype or switch to an inexpensive prepaid cell phone plan.
16. Be a proud “cheapskate.”
17. Take advantage of My Kids Eat Free.
18. Use the free-cycle network.
20. Take public transit, rather than driving.
22. Look for good deals on car insurance.
23. Buy local food. Healthy, organic, and fair trade foods can be very expensive in stores. To obtain this great food inexpensively look for a local farmer’s market to save money. Farmer’s markets allow you to purchase directly from the producer without the overhead cost of brick and mortar store fronts. This type of wholesome food can improve your health and reduce nutritional-related disease costs.
24. Don’t buy toxic cleaning supplies. Use baking soda or vinegar instead.
25. Ditch your gym membership and go for a daily walk, run, or bike ride.
26. Move closer to your place of employment.
27. Save gas money by telecommuting at least one day a week.
28. Create your own minimal business.
29. Repair or make your clothes.
30. Re-use and recycle.
32. Rather than heading to a cafe, make your coffee at home.
33. Watch less television and reduce your exposure to advertising.
34. Invite your friends and family over for dinner, rather than going out to eat.
35. Make your own unique holiday and birthday gifts.
36. Get your books from the local library.
37. Pay in cash and don’t use credit cards.
38. Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community and a way to meet new friends.
39. Give yourself 30 days to think about a purchase before you buy the item.
40. Go through your clothes and learn how to dress minimally.
41. Buy food in bulk.
42. Make use of your crock pot to pre-cook lunches.
43. Reduce your meat consumption.
44. Brew your own beer or make your own wine.
45. Cut back on unnecessary magazine subscriptions and live simply with the help of blogs.
46. Do it yourself. For example, can you learn to perform basic home maintenance?
47. Check out your local community calendar for free, family friendly events to attend.
48. Read Your Money or Your Life. If you want to understand more about finance and money management, consider checking this book out from the library. Why am I advocating that you read this book? Economic uncertainty, layoff’s and other world events have many people stressed out about money, how to spend it, save it and invest it. This book lays out simple steps that will help you gain a better understanding of money.
49. Before you buy anything, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent?
- Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
- How might this expenditure change if I didn’t have to work for a living. What expenses would increase, decrease or disappear if I didn’t go to work everyday?
Note: The questions above are from Your Money or Your Life.
50. If you’re struggling with your finances ask for help.
51. And don’t forget to have fun!